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Carinotetraodon travancoricus
Dwarf (Malabar) Pufferfish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Dwarf (Malabar) Pufferfish - Carinotetraodon travancoricus

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puffer3.jpg (24kb)
Photo Credit: Shawna

Name: Carinotetraodon travancoricus
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: India, Sri Lanka
3 cm 30 L 7.0 25C


These tiny guys are SO cute and playful. They're freshwater fish, and do not require a brackish environment. They love live and frozen meaty foods, but reject flake. They are too small for krill, so I stick to brine shrimp, blood worms, baby snails and the like. They are very curious and like to come and see what you're doing when they notice you're in the room. They are VERY responsive to their owners and really wonderful in small tanks. I highly recommend these fish. They're so cute you'll wish you could literally SQUEEZE them!

Contributed by Shawna

These are the cutest of all puffers. They stay tiny at about 3 cm and don't eat your plants. They are freshwater puffers, so they do not require any salt in the tank. I would recommend them to any one who has a small tank and wants something other then the usual danios or guppies. The puffers do better in a species tank with maybe just some Otos, because they will nip the fins of other fish if they get hungry. These little guys love meaty foods like frozen blood worms or tubifex worms. I've heard that they will not even touch the flakes and dry food that is fed to them. The tank should be medium to heavily planted, so each puffer can have its own little space and not have to see other puffers, because they can be a little bit mean to each other sometimes. They have the cutest swimming patterns, unlike any fish, and are a lot of fun to watch. A sure winner!

Contributed by Shuttsien Zhu

I love my little dwarf puffers. They are living with 3 spotted congos and they have never attempted to attack each other. If you want a puffer and only have a small tank, get these puffers because they get no bigger than 3 cm.

Contributed by (no name given)

Since this fish is imported from India, here in the USA most of the time they are very stressed, but are surprisingly hardy fish. These fish are semi-aggressive, and it is best to avoid keeping males together in a small tank. In a larger tank you can have several males, but be sure to create lots of caves and provide enough plants for protection. Males have a brown vertical line on their belly, which can darken and fade. Females do not have this. Bloodworms seem to be their staple diet, but I have seen mine also eat some flakes and sinking pellets. Little pond snails and ghost shrimp are also very good to include in their diet. These fish are fin nippers, so be careful with what you mix with them. I have found that they get along with most community fish without long fins!

Contributed by Amber Carter

My husband and I discovered these little characters several months ago at one of our favorite pet shops. We've had nothing but good luck with them so far. Our dwarves were quite young when we purchased them, so as a precaution against the tiny 1/2 cm puffers getting sucked up the intake tube, my husband bought a sponge filter specially made to fit over the intake. We find our Malabar school to be hardy, happy little snail hunters. We keep three heavily planted tanks, and always had problems keeping the snail populations down and our more delicate aquatic plants from being snail food. Even three species of Botia were not up to the snail-culling challenge (B. hymenophysa, B. macracantha, and B. striata), at least in our experience anyway. The Malabars will chase our Congo and Diamond tetras on occasion, but the tetras just chase the puffers in return, it seems almost playful. Our Corydoras and Farlowella seem unharrassed by the puffers. We shall see if our puffers become fin-nippers once they reach adulthood.

Contributed by Jeanne Fusek

I recently bought an ADA Advanced CO2 system and added more plants on my tiny setup...tragically, I also introduced snails in my aquarium on that particular event. The snail infestation grew and grew and I decided to act on it. Through research I have found out in this site that there are fishes that can actually handle this situation. The clown loach is good for this, but my community tank is so small that tiny species are the only choice, or else chasing and stressed fish will result. I opted for the pygmy puffer, bought 2 of these cute swimmers. At the pet store, I watched them as they hover like choppers around while nipping each other. I thought maybe they're just aggressive to each other and bought them anyway. Day one, never a shy fish, nipped at the angels right away. It would swim to a fish in a slow-hovering-friendly manner, like a curious kid trying to get to know another...then nip! Day two was like a scenario if your tank was infested with a fin rot disease, all of the fishes got the nip. The fan tail guppies looked like a siamese fighting fish with its fins shaped like a punk`s head. They're now on the other small "on-probation" aquarium, together with the other "not so friendly" fishes. The bad boy fishes are serving their sentence with the new guys on the block - "The nippers".

Contributed by Nelson

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